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    WHEEL OF THE INFINITE by Martha Wells

    EOS, July 2000

    Maskelle, sometimes-Voice of the Adversary, is returning to Duvalpore after years in exile. Their society, indeed their entire world's existance, depends on faithful completion of a series of rituals, but this year, the ritual is being distorted by an unknown force. Only the power of the Adversary can overcome this attack on the fabric of existance. Yet Maskelle has already admitted to failing. How can she preserve the perfection of the Wheel of the Infinite?

    In WHEEL OF THE INFINITE, Martha Wells (see more reviews of novels by Wells) has created a fascinating alternate universe. The belief structures, centered around ancestoral figures who speak through voices, a Zen-like oneness with the universe, and a Palace/Temple system that actually does protect and preserve the universe, is fascinating. Maskelle is a tragically torn figure. She knows better than to trust herself, but she can trust no one else. When the ceremony does occur, she and a small group of priests and the nobility find themselves thrown into a parallel universe that has destroyed itself and is anxious to take over the world of Duvalpore.

    Ultimately, Maskelle must confront both the powerful undead citizens of the destroyed universe and the beliefs that preserve her own universe. Only through her understanding of rightness does the universe have an opportunity to mend itself. This was a hard book to put down. Wells' writing is a pleasure to read and Maskelle, in particular, is a powerful and complex character.

    Three Stars

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